Norway's Bionor Pharma's stock almost quadrupled on the news that its HIV vaccine Vacc-4x unexpectedly reduced viral load. The trial was designed to test HIV-patients' ability to stay off antiretroviral therapy after having been immunized with Vacc-4x. It missed that endpoint. But researchers found that patients injected with Vacc-4x experienced a drop in levels of the virus; moreover, viral loads never returned to the levels seen before the patients started antiretroviral therapy. Due to the new findings, Bionor has reversed an earlier decision to stop development of the vaccine.
"Patients starting on antiretrovirals see the viral load effectively reduced, but this is dependent on daily treatment, and we know that HIV remains in the reservoirs," said Richard Pollard, the principle investigator in the trial. "A therapeutic HIV vaccine like Vacc-4x reducing the viral load set-point, could have significant implications for future HIV management used in combination with ART. More research is needed to confirm this hypothesis."
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